When it comes to tobacco, there are few things as polarizing as cigars. Carrying both romantic and despised stereotypes, there are few things as love or hate as the perception of cigars in society.

For some, cigars evoke images of the wealthy, ambitious, and fashion forward in the higher echelons in society. A resurgence in interest in the 90’s pushed the cigar back into the mainstream, making it a necessary prop for executives and moguls alike. Even a notorious, health conscious, oval office executive wasn’t immune to the charms of the cigar, infamously “sharing” his love of cigars with a certain intern in a blue dress.

For others, the cigar has a much less appealing nature, being an object of oral fixation for the indigent, degenerate, and otherwise seemingly unappealing persons among us. For these types of people, the cigar evokes visions of booze fueled frat boy parties, biker rallies, mobsters, and hobos. Of course, it is also fair to note that the cigar is not unaffected by militant anti-smoking zealotry either.

Stereotypes, whether good or bad, should be easy to dismiss – especially in an age of enlightenment brought on by internet access and breakneck advances in technology making us hyper-aware of the world around us. Unfortunately, as is almost always the case, things aren’t exactly that simple. Part of the polarizing nature of cigars stems from cigars themselves. Cigars, in many ways, reflect society as a whole. They are produced in as many countries as any one person can remember, their prices reflect all manners of financial mobility, and their tastes, shapes, and colors are as diverse as those of humanity itself… probably even more so.

If one were to sum up cigars in short and simple terms, it could easily be said that cigars are an enigmatic presence in the world of tobacco. Unlike pipe tobacco, cigars are often less than obvious in announcing their flavor profiles and makeup. Cigars often mark a significant investment in time and money for those that smoke them, and they are more sensitive to storage and usage methodology than other forms of tobacco. Some cigars, by virtue of origin, become iconic or mythological in the public awareness. In particular, the mythos surrounding Cuban cigars cannot be escaped, and such is unfortunate as it all adds up to a mystique that overshadows an otherwise simple pleasure in life.

If you’ve never smoked a cigar, and are so inclined to try one at least once in your life, I invite you to go to your local smoke shop and pick up a Macanudo Cafe. Do a short read online of how to prepare and smoke it, and give it a go. If it turns out it’s not for you, you won’t have lost much at all. If it turns out you happen to like it, there’s a whole world of cigars out there to explore.